About the Social Science History Association
The Social Science History Association was created in 1974 by scholars interested in using social science methods and theories to better understand the past.
The organization might be best seen as a coalition of distinctive scholarly communities which share interests in social life and theory; historiography; and historical and social-scientific methodologies. Our substantive intellectual work ranges from everyday life in the medieval world – and sometimes earlier — to contemporary global politics, but we are united in our historicized approach to understanding human events, explaining social processes, and developing innovative theory.
The term “social science history” has meant different things to different academic generations. In the 1970s, when the SSHA’s first meetings were held, the founding generation of scholars took it to reflect their concern to address pressing questions by combining social-science method and new forms of historical evidence. Quantitative approaches were especially favored by the association’s historical demographers, as well as some of the economic, social and women’s historians of the time. By the 1980s and 1990s, other waves of scholars – including culturally-oriented historians and anthropologists, geographers, political theorists, and comparative-historical social scientists — had joined the conversation.
New intellectual directions continue to emerge at the outset of the 21st century. Today’s SSHA incorporates a diversity of scholarly styles, with lots of crosstalk among them.